Archive | Stress

Know Your Anti-Depressants – Even If You Don’t Plan to Take Them

It’s important to know your anti-depressants, before you reject them. Traditional anti-depressants do have their place, when dealing with severe forms of depression – but there are also very real hazards, too.

Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors are modern psychiatrists’ first choice. These include such brand names as:

• Paxil

• Zoloft

• Effexor

• Wellbutrin

• Prozac

• Sarafem

They are considered the least potentially harmful of all the anti-depressants – though Mary P., of Newmarket, Ontario, would no doubt say otherwise, after spending the afternoon “paralyzed, but suspended above my body, feeling insanely powerful”, after her first (and only) dose of one of the above.

Tri-Cyclic Anti-Depressants block cell “receptors” and inhibit reabsorption of serotonin and norepinephrine. Another major job they do – which really works for some people – is to lower their sensitivity to glutamate.

Common Tri-Cyclics include:

• Amitriptyline

• Doxepin

• Imipramine

• Nortriptyline

All anti-depressants can cause common side effects such as:

• Loss of sexual interest and ability

• Constipation

• Headaches

• Weight gain (or loss)

• Exhaustion and lethargy; “loginess”

• Drowsiness

• Insomnia

And several more.

When it comes to taking anti-depressants, it’s really a case of “lesser evils” – the depression or the side effects.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO-A inhibitors) are sometimes indicated, when Serotonin Re-Uptake inhibitors don’t work, particularly in cases of Atypical depression, Agoraphobia (fear of open spaces) and “social anxiety”.

MAO-A inhibitors decrease monoamine oxidase, which breaks down monoamine transmitters. Some common brands include:

• Parnate

• Nardil

• Emsam (patch)

With MAO-A inhibitors, there are normally-beneficial natural herbs that are actually contra-indicated:

• Passion Flower (Passiflora Incarnata)

• St. John’s Wort (Hypericum Perforatum)

Also, some foods can actually interact with MAO-A’s in a lethal fashion, causing death. Foods containing Tyramine and Tryptophan are the main offenders (almost everyone on MAO-A inhibitors has been cautioned about eating cheese.)

Fava beans, alcohol and liver are also on the “do not eat” list. Also, so many other medications that you are advised to waste no time in checking with your doctor for a complete list.

The old MAO-A inhibitors permanently destroyed monoamine oxidase, but newer ones do not do this. They are still a powerful drug it’s better not to mess with – and better to be 100% sure that you absolutely have to take! They can also be deadly, if you suffer from diabetes. Natural remedies may be your best solution, in this case. (Check with your health care professional.)

Anti-Psychotics are a class of drug often added to anti-depressants when auditory or visual hallucinations are involved.

This is a complex class of drugs, involving 2 generations. The first consists of 3 major groups: Butyrophenones, Phenothiazines and Thioxanthenes.

The second generation consists of one single group, including brand names such as:

• Zyprexa

• Clozaril

• Risperdal

Never let a doctor prescribe an anti-psychotic without also prescribing an anti-cholinergic medication to neutralize deadly reactions between anti-psychotic and anti-depressant – as patient Rosemary R., of Aurora, Ontario, found out the hard way. Fortunately, a fellow patient was with her when Rosemary suffered an anti-cholinergic reaction, shortly after taking her first dose of Clozapine. Her friend called 911.

I’d love to say everything went right at that point, but the truth is, even the medical staff at the hospital Emergency department completely missed the connection between the anti-psychotic and Rosemary’s Serotonin Re-Uptake inhibitor; and she herself had no idea what the problem was. The staff dismissed her severe shortness of breath, tight chest, racing heart and ominous feelings as a “panic attack” – and she spent “a nasty day” in the emergency ward, until the effects luckily wore off. (They can be fatal!)

Rosemary correctly tied her “attack” to the first dose of anti-psychotic, Clozapine, she had taken, and promptly discontinued the medication – a decision which she is now convinced may have saved her life.

It wasn’t until a week later, when Rosemary was accompanying her new friend and fellow-patient to a psychiatrist’s appointment, that the friend chatted to her own doctor about Rosemary’s frightening experience. Escorting her patient out of the office after the appointment, Dr. S. found Rosemary waiting, and asked her if she had been prescribed an anti-cholinergic, either with her new medication or at the Emergency Ward.

Rosemary’s answer – “What’s an anti-cholinergic?” – told Dr. S. everything she needed to know. She advised Rosemary to speak to her physician immediately.

Rosemary did. Her doctor’s stunning response? “Oops. I forgot about that…”

He also “forgot” to warn her about another potentially serious side effect called agranulocytosis, for which her blood needed to be carefully monitored bi-weekly. (“…Though he did remember to warn me about cheese…”)

The truth is, being informed and aware of what you are about to take is your best bet in making sure your treatment is right for you – and that your depression is severe enough to warrant these powerful, mind-altering drugs.

If your depression is mild to moderate, and you have experienced no suicidal thoughts, you may be much better off visiting a naturopath and looking into natural remedies, instead of blindly taking a heavy-duty anti-depressant.

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Hypertension: Lower Your High Blood Pressure by Changing Your Thinking

Hypertension is commonly caused by dietary and lifestyle factors. These are the first to be reviewed when our BP readings are consistently elevated. First line defence techniques such as improving our diet and becoming more active are beneficial. They are, however, only part of the picture. What is often overlooked is the effect of our thought patterns on our blood pressure.

As a Man Thinketh, So He Becomes:

James Allen’s famous aphorism – as a man thinketh so he becomes – says that our dominant thoughts affect our well being, for good or for bad. Our subconscious mind hears our “chatter” and tries to make those thoughts our reality. If we are worried, for example, about out our job security or keeping up the mortgage repayments, then our subconscious mind interprets our anxiety by releasing chemicals into our blood that elevate out blood pressure. This is anxiety or stress related hypertension, which we sometimes try to alleviate through increased smoking unhealthy and drinking. We are, of course, only making our hypertension worse.

A study of psychology and hypertension carried out by the University of Padua, Italy confirmed that:

  • anger
  • hostility
  • anxiety
  • depression and
  • defensiveness

have been often associated with the development of hypertension (Semplicini and Realdi, University of Padua Medical School, 2009).

We can apply this knowledge to turn the problem around by:

  • changing what we think about, and
  • using relaxation techniques.

Recognizing the problem

Our anxiety is caused, at least in part, by the fear of the unknown. We do not know what is going to happen and we think we have no control over circumstances. If work fears are a cause of our hypertension, we can work to reduce or eliminate them. It might help to make an assessment of the likely impact of losing a job and try to plan for such circumstances.

Changing what we think about

Human nature is for our self-defense mechanism to engage. In the case of anxiety related hypertension, it is not uncommon for us to try to ignore the problem and hope it will go away. This is self-deception and can add further stress burdens, making our condition worse.

Just as with a dietary factor in our high blood pressure, it would be wise to recognize the problem and do something about it. Planning is a form of action. Taking positive action to reduce or eliminate the problem can be cathartic. So if anxiety is fuelling our high blood pressure, we can counter it by altering the predominant subject of our thoughts away from worrying to actively dealing with the cause of our concerns.


There are two types of relaxation – active relaxation and passive relaxation. Engaging in an activity or sport that you enjoy which is a break from your normal routine can be relaxing to both body and mind. Passive relaxation can be as simple as finding a peaceful place and quieting your mind for 20 minutes. This will immediately lower your blood pressure.

If you have anxiety related hypertension, recognize that defensive behaviour is more likely to harm you than help you. You should also do something about the psychological factors. It starts with acknowledgement and gets easier by taking positive action. There is a dynamic relationship between the nature of our predominant thoughts and our bodies especially our blood pressure.

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Cure Erectile Dysfunction Forever

Erectile dysfunction is a very embarrassing issue that is affecting millions of men every year. Just in America as many as 30 million men deal with this problem. As a result, men are having a difficult time in their relationships and enjoying their sexual activities, which is also then creating further stress and anxiety issues.

In order to beat the effects of this dilemma, men need to understand what this condition is, how the issue came about and what measures should be taken to put an end to this condition. As many as 1 in 10 men simply ignore the problem and this simply makes matters worse in the long-term.

What Is Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED), is also sometimes referred to as impotence. When a man experiences erection issues, they are unable to achieve or to maintain an erection. This prevents them from performing in the sack.

How Erection Issues Come About

Erectile dysfunction can be a combination of many factors, which include psychological issues, health problems and damage to the manhood region. Most cases of erectile dysfunction are due to narrowing of the arteries that take blood to the penis. A lowered testosterone level is also known to cause erection issues. Age and stress, are factors that can lead to a drop in testosterone. A side-effect from some medications can add to problems. These include medications for depression, heart disease and high blood pressure. An injury to the groin, or nerve damage can create problems with erections.

Emotional issues can play a very big role:

• Worry

• Stress

• Anxiety

• Depression

• Lack of interest in sex

What Measures Should Be Taken

If you believe that you are suffering from erection issues, then you should not ignore the problem and look for help to reduce its effect sooner rather than later. One of the best ways to reduce the effects of erectile dysfunction is to improve diet and to exercise every day. Research suggests that moderate exercise can help restore sexual performance in men. A brisk 20 minute walk is all that is needed to improve circulation levels.

Eating the right foods is essential because you want to make sure you will avoid junk foods. These will clog the blood arteries that deliver the blood to the penis. While there’s no particular wonder foods to cure erectile dysfunction, don’t turn up your nose to leafy green vegetables such as celery and spinach as they are high in nitrates which can improve erection quality. A diet that’s good for a man’s heart is also good for his ability to have erections.

Men should also consider taking the right vitamin supplements to ensure that the necessary nutrients enter the body. These nutrients can include Vitamins A C & E and Zinc. More and more men are discovering that they can still have the same quality of sex life that they were able to enjoy when they were younger using the right vitamin supplements.

All these problems can also be treated with herbal cures. Erectile dysfunction herbs and other natural remedies have long been used in Chinese and other cultures for a long time. Ginkgo has the potential to increase blood flow to the penis making it possible for men to achieve harder erections.

This problem does not have to take over a man’s sex life because the condition is treatable. Since the causes may be psychological or physical, it is important to determine the issue to help with the treatment process. It is a lot easier than people think to treat the root cause of the problem naturally. The issue will then be solved properly in the long-term.

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What’s So Good About Paintball?

So, what is it that makes us so attracted to the game of paintball? I have done some research online as well as asking around to my “paintball addicted” friends to find the answer to this question. Here is what I found: explains that paintball is a sport played by people from all professions and lifestyles. It is a sport where women and men compete equally, and where age is not dominated by youth. Like a game of chess, being able to think quickly and decisively is what makes you a star in paintball. Intelligence and determination, not merely strength, speed or agility, are key to success in the sport.

The first friend I asked told me that paintball is a character-building sport. Players learn about teamwork, gain self-confidence and develop leadership abilities while having fun and getting welcome stress-relief. Increasingly, corporations are finding the benefits of having their staff and management participate in paintball games. They played paintball when he was in school to become a police officer. They got experience using guns as well as learning about team work and leadership. Paintball is also used in the armed forces as practice.

Another friend explained to me that paintball is an exciting sport, and above all paintball is fun! It’s a chance to shake off your day-to-day responsibilities and rekindle your spirit of adventure. When the adrenaline starts pumping, you can’t help but love the thrill of the game! He often plays on the weekend after his long week of his regular job. He said it takes the stress from his weekly job away and lets him have some fun with his friends.

Some other friends were more excited about the “war-like” aspect of the game. The first stated, “Its kind of like war, you get to shoot people, go for cover, use tactics. However, it can’t kill you but it can hurt when you get hit so it prevents you from doing stupid things. Paintball is pretty awesome you should try it and then make your own opinion.”

Another said, “I love paintball mainly because of the war like rush except the pain is much less than really getting shot. If you try it I can almost assure that you’ll love it!”

Well, this weekend I tried playing paintball for the first time with my husband and some of his friends. They are more experience so I forced them to go easy on me but I still got a lot of shots at them and visa versa. The game was actual a lot of fun. You get a little sting when the paintball hits you if you aren’t dressed enough, but you get that extreme adrenalin rush that you would with a game of laser tag times 5. As long as you are dressed right it doesn’t hurt too much and it can be a cheap way to have some good old fashioned fun with your friends outdoors. The upfront cost is the only thing that can be steep at first. Once the gun and accessories are yours though, you will have it the rest of your life and just have to get paintballs and pay for the paintball field if that is where you play. My family has a cabin in the woods so we get to go up there and play for free. You can do some research around your area and may be able to find some places to play for free.

So, after all of my research, all I have heard is good things. Everyone I ask seems to enjoy it so much and that may be why it is so popular all over the United States. And don’t think it’s just a “guys game”. I played and loved it as well so, girls get out there!

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Anxiety Disorder Causes – The Four Major Contributors Explained

The study of anxiety disorders began around the turn of the 20th century. Since that time, studies have compiled four major contributors for anxiety disorder causes. There is conjecture on other possible causes, but these remain the basis for most prognoses.

* Brain chemistry – Both clinical and animal studies highly indicate a relationship between difficulty in maintaining balance and anxiety disorders. The belief is that a malfunction causes signals to be confused within the medial temporal lobes of the brain. The exact area is in the amygdalae, which deal with memory of emotional reactions. Simply put, the person cannot balance a reaction to match a cause, resulting in fear of events that may not be fearful at all.

* Life experiences – Chronic physical illness or worries associated with finances, relationships, or work situations can lead to anxiety disorders. Between 4% and 10% of older adults are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. This doesn’t take into consideration the many who do not seek help because they don’t want anyone to know.

* Heredity – Everyone receives genes from their parents and grandparents. Almost everyone who has an anxiety disorder has a parent, grandparent, or other relative with anxiety syndromes of some type. In cases where the child becomes separated from the parent at an early age, certain characteristics will surface that are like those of the parent. This indicates that the disorders are not solely based on life experiences as some have though. Clinical studies substantiate the pass-down-system of anxiety.

* Personality – People who have low self esteem and the inability to cope with life situations are more prone to become depressed and then develop anxiety disorders. The relationships between emotions in these cases are difficult to understand because the person with low self-esteem may be that way because of an anxiety at an earlier age. The origin of the anxiety is not always clearly understood.

Another contributor to depression and anxiety is alcohol abuse. Moderate and sustained alcohol use may increase the levels of depression and anxiety in some people. The good news is that the majority of these anxiety cases can be reversed with prolonged abstinence. Dependency on alcohol or benzodiazepine can lead to panic disorder or social phobias.

Most sufferers of anxiety disorders have combinations of these causes. The ability to treat a syndrome of anxiety is only possible by removing as many of these causes as possible and then focusing on treating what is left. Unfortunately, the human is a complex and diverse being with no set standard to allow a structured common treatment. It is the task of the professional to probe and assess each person individually. In this way, he/she can devise a plan of attack that works.

Anxiety disorder causes are much easier to identify than they are to rectify. Few suffers are able to help themselves, and must be cajoled to seek medical attention.

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The Anxiety and Depersonalization Anger Factor

I’ll bet you are known among the majority of your friends and relatives as the “nice” guy or gal who never argues or loses their temper. You also are there for everyone and in fact, cannot remember the last time you said “no” to a request. I’ll also bet you pride yourself on this behavior and feel it is quite an attribute. You are “there” for whomever needs you, and are the consummate good hearted and reliable friend. Everyone seems to love you and life is good, but why do you experience more and more anxiety and often feelings of brain fog known as depersonalization?

I’ll tell you why.

Although it sounds wonderful, on paper, to be the “perfect” friend and relation, this is not always the ideal prescription for balanced emotional health. It is a natural part of human nature to sometimes feel angry, experience the anger through and express oneself in a healthy way when angry…and the world will still go on turning.

The mind-set of someone who is prone to anxiety and/or depersonalization, does not view the expression of anger as an “acceptable” behavior. Therefore, this person will go to all lengths to rein their anger in, resulting in physical and emotional manifestation of this very strong repressed emotion.

This person will bite their tongue, leave the room or even smile and agree before participating in a confrontation. Everyone thinks they are surely saints and they might even be well-loved, but deep down inside they are building an explosive mountain of repressed emotions.

Eventually, these emotions may manifest into backaches, headaches, anxiety or feelings of depersonalization. A generalized numbness or brain fog may replace emotions. Feelings seem to literally freeze as the emotion of anger is repressed. Holding back anger may create a strong sense of approval by those around you, but may also create a a stronger sense of self-hatred, if one is not careful. Pleasing everyone carries a high price-tag, because in the long run you are pleasing everyone but yourself.

The best time to express your anger is when you first experience it. The longer you wait, the less effective this strategy becomes. The longer you wait, the greater build-up of negative energy within, which eventually explodes or implodes into a physical or emotional reaction.

Managing Anger Effectively:

– Accept your anger. It is normal and healthy to experience anger.

– Express it while you experience the heat or as close to that time as possible. Expression of anger gone cold, while better than nothing, does not clear this energy in the same way.

– You are kidding yourself if you believe good people never get angry.

– Stick to issues rather than personalities when discussing angers.

– Understand that you will not lose your mind, go insane or implode by facing your anger.

– Address the anger as quickly as possible. The longer you wait, the less effective this becomes. This is a challenge but prevents manifestation of anxiety, dp and other symptoms of repressed emotions.

– Realize that expressing anger will not in any way annihilate a genuine relationship. Honesty will strengthen rather than sever a true bond between two people.

– Accept the fact that one can experience the heat of anger effectively without harming themselves or anyone else.

– Know that expression of true anger is exhilarating as it clears the air, one’s head and opens up a direct line of healthy communication.

– Grant yourself permission to be real with friends, co-workers and relatives. This is a much greater gift than holding back true feelings.

Learn to acknowledge, address and effectively live with the fact that there will be angers in your life, and you are able to respond to them without perishing. It is acceptable to say “no” and mean it, and to feel angry if the situation arises.

Anger is a natural reaction and part of the human condition. Life still goes on after you experience a healthy release of angry feelings. Raising one’s voice in the heat of the moment and saying what’s on your mind is also a natural part of life and can prevent the build up of negative energy. This in itself staves off unnecessary anxiety reactions.

Change your perception of anger, as part of the human condition and you change your life.

Experiencing anger does not indicate a crazy, out of control, or violent person. It signifies a human being with a full range of emotions, and the ability to acknowledge and express them fully, in a safe and healthy manner. Those who freeze one emotion or another will usually pay dearly for this choice. It is much healthier to allow your emotions to surface and deal with them in a swift and effective manner.

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What’s the Best Treatment for Dandruff?

Dandruff affects the scalp and causes the scalp to flake – it is a common condition. Our skin cells are continually renewing themselves. When the skin cells on our scalp are renewed the old ones are pushed to the surface. If you are a person who suffers with dandruff the renewal process is faster, making the dandruff more of a noticeable problem.

The exact cause of dandruff is not known, although it is believed by some professionals to be associated with an over-growth of Malassezia, which is a fungus commonly found on the skin and scalp. Dandruff can be a long-term problem or it can be the result of certain lifestyle changes or stress. If you have dandruff you may also notice itching and redness on the scalp. Excessive flaking may be caused by an underlying illness or condition, such as psoriasis, a fungal infection, or even head lice.

Having dandruff can be a real blow to a persons self-esteem, knocking ones confidence. Therefore, finding an effective treatment for dandruff may be important for both physiological and psychological reasons.

How to help prevent Dandruff.

Before we start with the cures and for getting rid of dandruff let’s have a quick look a some of the steps we can take to help prevent dandruff.

  1. When you shampoo your hair, try not to scratch your scalp too much.
  2. Try to avoid putting to many chemicals on your hair such as hair dye.
  3. Try to manage your stress better. Good quality sleep and meditation could help you de-stress.
  4. Brush your hair at least once a day. Shampoo it at least three times a week.
  5. Cut down on your use of hair products such as gel and spray until your dandruff calms down.
  6. Clean your comb everyday. Try using a good quality barbicide (The blue liquid you may have seen your barber or hairdresser using to store their combs and clippers etc)
  7. Get more Vitamin B in your diet. Include more seafood, fresh vegetables and nuts in your diet.
  8. Don’t wash your hair in hard water. If you live in an area with hard water, have a filter fitted, or wash your hair with bottled water.
  9. Change your shampoo. Sometimes you may be using a shampoo which just doesn’t agree with your scalp and can actually agitate the sebaceous glands and cause dandruff. Once you’ve found a shampoo that works for you, stick with it.

Okay, that’s the preventative stuff out of the way… what about the cures?

How to get rid of Dandruff Naturally.

For those of you who prefer to do things the natural way there are plenty of options available to you. If you prefer to using commercially available medicated products instead of going the home remedy type route, then you can skip the next few paragraphs.

  • Yogurt makes an excellent hair conditioner. After washing your hair, try rubbing some plain yogurt into your scalp. Leave it for 10 of 15 minutes to do its stuff. Rinse your hair through with a vinegar water mix (you don’t need much vinegar, just a tablespoon in a bowl of water). After you’ve rinsed with the vinegar water, rinse it again with warm water until it’s clean. You can then wash your hair through with a little shampoo if you wish.
  • Boil the peels of a lemon or two in 1 liter of water for 15-20 minutes. Let it cool and rinse your hair with this solution about once a week.
  • Mix the juice of half a lemon with 4 tablespoons of warmed olive oil (obviously not hot, just warm. You don’t want burn yourself). Rub the mixture into the roots before washing your hair with a mild shampoo.
  • Get some boric acid powder. This is available at the chemist or online and it is usually used as an eye wash. Warm any natural oil such as olive oil, coconut oil or castor oil, add one teaspoon of boric powder and allow it to dissolve. Part your hair into separate sections and apply the oil and massage it well into the scalp. Keep it on for 2-3 hours or ideally overnight if you can, and then wash your hair in the morning. Do this procedure once a week and if your dandruff is stubborn, try it twice a week.
  • Mix two tablespoons of malt or cider vinegar into a mug of warm water. After you have washed your hair and rinsed it of shampoo, do a final rinse with this vinegar mix. Do this two of three times a week.
  • Take 2 tablespoons of fenugreek seeds, leave them to soak overnight. In the morning grind them into a fine paste. This paste should be applied on the scalp and left for half an hour. The hair should be then washed thoroughly with mild shampoo.
  • Add a drop of tea tree oil to your regular shampoo. Tea tree oil has been used for centuries and is a highly effective anti-septic and anti-fungal substance. It’s works great to combat dandruff.

Over the Counter Remedies.

If the natural home-remedies aren’t helping to get rid of dandruff, you might want to try some of the many medicated shampoos that are available over the counter, T-Gel and Head & Shoulders being two which spring to mind. Try to get a trial sized sample of any brand medicated shampoo before making a purchasing. Some brands my work better for you than some others, because they can be quite harsh some medicated shampoos may even worsen your dandruff problem by irritating your skin. So shop around until you find one that works.

What if treatments don’t work?

If you have tried all the above methods and nothing has seemed to work for you it could mean there are underlying problems. You may need to speak to a doctor or dermatologist so that they can diagnose what the problem is exactly.

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6 Quick Acupressure Points to Relieve Labor Pain – Pregnancy Massage Therapy

Pregnancy Acupressure has been in use for centuries. It allows you to begin labor at home, safely and naturally, easing yourself into the contractions and dilation that will result in the birth of your baby. But the time you get to the hospital, your labor will already be half over. This leads to shorter delivery times, and an much easier birthing process. Maternity acupressure techniques also help increase blood flow, eliminate pain, and reduce stress on the mom-to-be, while at the same time aiding in contractions, dilation, and providing extra oxygen to the baby. All of these benefits to reflexology for pregnancy have made it increasingly popular in delivery rooms across the world.

Massage during labor includes using the body’s various pressure points to stimulate other parts of the body. Learning how to do maternity acupressure is easy, and requires no prior experience. It consists of gentle pressure applied with fingertips, the ball of the thumb, and sometimes the palm or elbow. These pregnancy massage therapy techniques are both safe and natural, and can be used even after childbirth for continued stress and pain-relief benefits. However, these points should not be used during the developing stages of pregnancy – on a pregnant woman this type of acupressure to induce labor should be reserved for helping to start contractions and for aiding in childbirth only.

* Hand (to aid with contractions) – Place your own thumb on the meaty web between your partner’s forefinger and thumb. Close your middle two or three fingers upward to rest in her palm, and begin gently squeezing, concentrating on applying downward pressure with the ball of your thumb. This pressure point is important in pregnancy reflexology in that it can be used to aid in strengthening contractions. By timing your pressure with each contraction you can help the baby descend, pushing along with mom to move the child through the birth canal.

* Palm (to release endorphins for pain) – Look at your partner’s hand. In the center of the topmost crease on the palm, there’s an acupressure point that can be used to force the body to release it’s natural painkillers: endorphins. Gentle pressure to this region will produce anesthetizing feelings in the brain, but overly pressing it can cause pain so be careful how much pressure you use. If you have trouble finding this spot, tell your partner to close her fingers until the tips of each finger are touching the palm, almost like a half-fist. The place right below where her fingers are touching is where you want to apply pressure.

* Foot (to release tension and relax the body) – Beneath the ball of the foot is a depression just as the arch of the foot begins. By placing your thumb here and wrapping your fingers around the top of the foot for counter pressure, you can begin pushing gently inward and upward, rolling your thumb toward the big toe. Reflexology and pregnancy go hand in hand, and this massage will have the effect of soothing and calming your partner. With the right pressure, and the right direction, you can use this technique well into childbirth to relax and keep your partner free from excess anxiety. It also makes a great technique to use months and years afterward, any time you or your partner both need to relieve stress.

* Hip (for pain, and to promote contractions) – Your partner will need to be on her side for this one. Find the top of the buttocks crease, then move in a perpendicular line toward her hipbone. When you’ve gone about two-thirds this distance, press gently inwardly and upward toward the spine. This acupressure pregnancy point should be immediately felt, and it should feel pretty good. Pressing and rolling this point will accomplish both pain relief and the inducing/strengthening of contractions. You can use this to both induce labor, and to aid in contractions once the onset of labor has occurred. After childbirth, you can use this point at any time to help break up trapped pelvic stress and relax the lower body.

* Lower back (to release endorphins for pain) – For this acupressure point, your partner will need to be pressing back against a firm object. Find the halfway point between the spine and the dimples of your partner’s gluteus. Pressing downward with a slight twisting motion, do some probing until you find the spot where your partner feels a very pleasant sensation of relief. This spot works wonders for pregnancy pain, and it can also dissipate pent-up stress in the lower back and gluteus muscles.

* Shoulder (to stimulate contractions) -Find the bump at the base of your partner’s neck – this is her C7 vertebrae. Now trace a line to the other bump at the end of her shoulder. Right in between these two areas is another pressure point on the shoulder muscle itself, and applying pressure to this one can help greatly with uterine contractions (and it can later be used to stimulate milk production as well). Stimulate this point during initial stages of labor to help begin and promote these contractions.

These are the six most popular techniques of acupressure during labor, but note that most of them can be very useful beyond childbirth. Pregnancy massage therapy methodology has been proven to have radical benefits in the delivery room and beyond. Massage during labor itself can dramatically decrease the chances of unwanted medical intervention or C-section during the birthing process. Learn these techniques for a safer, faster delivery… and then use them on each other in the years to come to relieve stress, pain, and pent-up tension in the body.

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Chest Pain – When Is It Not Serious?

You have heard that chest pain can be serious. It can signal a heart attack. It might be a rare, life-threatening problem. But it could be quite the opposite. It could be not at all serious.

When is chest pain not serious?

It is wise to learn when chest pain is not serious. You will want to check your symptoms with a licensed professional, but here are 7 examples of chest pain that is probably not immediately serious.

1. Acid reflux or heartburn: Chest pain can seem to be heart pain when it is related to the digestive tract. When acid refluxes (flows back) into the esophagus, it can cause a burning sensation in the chest. This chest pain can be mistaken for heart pain – the reason it was named as it was, even though it has nothing to do with the heart. This chest pain is not serious if it is occasional. If it happens frequently, you may be developing GERD, a more serious condition. To determine if this chest pain is serious, consider whether it came soon after eating. Try using an antacid. If the discomfort is relieved, it is probably heartburn.

2. Bruising: Chest pain can occur due to bruising of the outer chest. Perhaps you were moving furniture or other large objects. At the time, you didn’t realize you had hurt yourself. Later, you experience chest pain, but it is not serious.

3. Nerves: When is chest pain not serious? The roots of every nerve in the body are in the spinal cord. Smaller nerves branch from them along the neck and upper back. Chest pain can occur if one of these nerves is pinched where it leaves the spine. Chest pains caused by pinched nerves are sharp “shooting” pains. They may be triggered by moving your neck or arms in certain ways. They may be felt in the left or right part of the chest. These are not immediately serious chest pains.

4. Rib Injury: Chest pain can be caused by a bruised or fractured rib. This chest pain will be localized, right or left side, near a rib. It will be a sharp pain, and may increase when the rib area is touched. This chest pain is likely to increase when coughing.

5. Strains/sprains: When it is a result of a strain or sprain to one of the many muscles, bones, tendons, and cartilages in the chest, chest pain is probably not serious. These chest pains last for only a few seconds. They may return frequently over a period of days, and may be brought on, or relieved, by moving into certain positions. They are non-cardiac symptoms.

6. Stress: When is chest pain not serious? When it is caused by stress, your chest pain is not serious. As you respond to unusual demands on your body, emotions, or mind, you may tighten the muscles of the chest. This causes chest pain. With the pain, you may experience intense fear. Your heartbeat may increase, your breathing become rapid. You may perspire profusely and feel shortness of breath. This could be an anxiety or panic attack.

7. Ulcers: Another form of chest pain that is triggered by a digestive tract problem is the pain of an ulcer in the stomach or duodenum. This chest pain, like the pain of acid reflux or heartburn, is often felt in the upper abdomen or lower chest. As above, ask whether it was triggered by eating. Try getting relief with antacids. Although ulcer chest pains are not immediately serious, you should seek medical advice.

The Other Side of the Coin

Asking, when is chest pain not serious, should be followed by asking the opposite question: when is chest pain serious?

Chest pain can be caused by heart attack, probably the most life-threatening condition. Other heart conditions can also cause chest pain, and should receive medical attention.

Pleurisy, with its sharp, localized chest pain, is made worse when you cough or breathe in. Pleurisy is caused by inflammation of the membrane lining the chest cavity and covering the lungs. A blood clot can lodge in a lung artery, blocking blood flow to the tissue of the lungs. This condition, a pulmonary embolism, is similar to pleurisy in that the localized chest pain is made worse by a cough or deep breath. Other lung conditions can also cause chest pain.

Shingles, a nerve infection caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, often causes chest pain. This is a sharp, burning pain. It may begin a few hours or a day before a band of blisters appears on your back and chest.

Err on the Side of Caution

If you cannot find an explanation for your chest pain, and it persists, take an aspirin and seek emergency medical care. If your pains feel like pressure or tightness in your chest, do you have these other symptoms?

1. shortness of breath

2. sweating

3. nausea

4. dizziness

5. pain radiating to one or both arms or neck

If your chest pain includes any of those symptoms, seek emergency medical care immediately.

Do not worry about what people will think if your chest pain is not serious. Chest pain is one of the most frequent reasons people call for emergency medical help. Often that chest pain is not related to a heart problem. You may be embarrassed if that happens to you. Don’t be. Even if your chest pain is not serious, it is better to go to the emergency room for evaluation.

CAUTION: The author is not a medical professional, and offers the information in this article for educational purposes only. Please discuss it with your health care provider before relying on it in any way.

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Anxiety and Ear Reflexology: Rub Your Ears to Relax!

The Chinese have been doing it for centuries, as have other Asian cultures. Increasing numbers of Westerners are doing it too. Ear rubbing or ear reflexology that is; massaging of the ears to improve health, calm the emotions and enhance the general sense of well being. It’s simple, quick and effective.

Your ears, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), a complete medical system which has developed continuously over at least 2500 years, contain reflexology areas that when stimulated by acupuncture needles or finger pressure influence corresponding body parts. For instance, if you have stomach problems you would stimulate the stomach reflexology area on each ear; for eye problems, the eye reflexology areas.

Anxiety and ear reflexology involves stimulating the heart reflexology areas, and perhaps others too, because in TCM anxiety and nervousness usually relates to the heart. A maximum of three or four points would be selected for any one session, then pressed and rubbed for 1-2 minutes, 2-3 times a day, until symptoms subside.

One ear reflexology for anxiety method you can do on yourself and others involves using your thumbs and index fingers to gently grasp, pull and rub the entire surface of both ears. This is simple to do and very relaxing. Reflexology can also be done on other parts of your body. Usually referred to as acupressure, the underlying principles are the same as for reflexology. Here’s a quick, easy, how-to guide on anxiety and ear reflexology, beginning with three anxiety acupressure points you can massage on your arms and feet:

While acupressure and ear reflexology are safe self-therapies, you should check with your health professional before trying them for the first time.

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